Being a mom has been the biggest blessing ever. Sometimes, you see a picture of your kids and think to yourself, "How did they grow up so darn fast?". It's so important to cherish the little moments, because as time goes by you realize that those little moments were actually big moments.

I thought about sharing ideas with you that will help you connect with your children on a different level. Enjoy them completely before they grow up.

Photo: Alli Mae

28 Ways Enjoy the Little Ones Before They Grow Up

  1. Watch them when they sleep. I know it sounds creepy but they look so peaceful and beautiful. I won’t lie I am known to snap a picture or few while they sleep.
  2. Take some extra time brushing your child’s hair. Keep on brushing it through the teen years. Or putting a pony in even when they can do it themselves.
  3. Read the heartfelt things your kids write about you and let them sink in. For example: When our kids give us valentines or birthday cards, are we really taking their words in? It’s never too late to start.
  4. Break a personal parenting rule or two. I recently took my 8 year-old daughter Harper manicure. She enjoyed it. It was a fun memory for both of us. I told her we are not to make a habit of it. But it’s nice to treat yourself from time to time. It was special. Looking over at her with a big smile being pampered melted my heart.
  5. Be a goof. Sing at the top of your lungs in the car, dance in the grocery store or just show them life doesn’t need to be so serious all the time. My kids like to bring up the time I was being goofy at the grocery store dancing in the aisles. I said “this is what happens when we go shopping after 8 pm.” They thought that was pretty silly.
  6. Let them climb into bed with you. Trust me they won’t want to do that forever. It makes them feel safe and loved. Especially if their love language is physical touch. Find out your child’s love language here.
  7. Don’t round UP on their ages. Even if your child turns 7 in two months, keep thinking of him as 6. There’s no need to rush it.
  8. Fill your home with photos of them. Also post pictures of your children all over your social media pages. Keep pictures up around your house from when they were babies.
  9. Practice living simply so your mind is clearer, which helps me be more clear minded. Clutter can cause stress and anxiety.
  10. See your children through a camera lens. Be in the moment. Remember life isn’t about that perfect picture. Allow your kids to be themselves. Sometimes I think back to some perfect moments and think gosh how I wish I would have taken a picture so I never forget it.
  11. Capture, whether with your camera or a pen and paper, not just their milestones but the scenes you see every single day. Keeping a journal is a great idea. Keep track of 5 memories each day good or bad. They are fun to look back on years later. Sometimes the things that made you mad make you laugh years later. Example: The time my daughter kept dumping her baby food over her head. I was so frustrated at the time. Now, I just laugh about it.
  12. When they’re hurting, try to place yourself in a similar situation from your past and really remember what it felt like to be where they are. Tell them you understand and relate to them.
  13. Watch them closely when their minds are fully engaged in something they love. Like when they watch their favorite cartoon, play a sport they truly enjoy or watch them dance or play an instrument.
  14. Do something for you. “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Take a class, get a gym membership, or plan a date night with your spouse.
  15. Climb under some blankets and read to them with a flashlight. We also pretend like we are in an igloo. Paint a mental picture and have them come up with some ideas too.
  16. Get rid of guilt. It’s clouding your view. One time I heard something that just stuck, “Your child doesn’t need a perfect mom, they need a happy mom.”
  17. Regularly take some time to remember your childhood. It’ll help you better appreciate theirs. I remember my dad playing hide and seek with me and pretending he couldn’t see me hiding under the bathroom rug. He was playful with us kids.
  18. Claim for yourself and your family a distraction-free block of time. A morning with your phone down, an afternoon away from the TV or laptop.
  19. Make it your goal for a day to double the amount of eye contact you have with your children. It lets them know they matter and you care.
  20. When you pack away a size of clothing your child has outgrown, make a little ritual of remembering this last stage and how quickly it passed.
  21. Take more videos. They are only little for so long.
  22. Build yourself a supportive village. Not a lot of “savoring” goes on when you’re parenting on an island. Too much energy is going to survival. We need each other. It’s nice having people who also love your kids and they feel safe with.
  23. Organize some one on one dates with your children. If you need structure for this try letting your child stay up 15 minutes late to play a board game. At our house we try to do a kid choice night where we do what they want go to the YMCA pool, Chuck-E Cheese for games, bowling, movie or just game or movie night at home. Also, every Sunday evening is board game night. Tenzi is our new favorite game.
  24. If your child is old enough to text, take screen shots of cute text conversations you exchange.
  25. If hurrying makes you agitated, try building more free space into your schedule so you don’t have to rush so much between activities. Wake up earlier and always plan to be early.
  26. Snuggle up with them for movie time. Make popcorn. Sometimes we even pick up pizza and put a blanket on the carpet for a picnic in the living room while watching a movie.
  27. Listen. Always listen. If you don’t listen now, they won’t want to share when they are older.
  28. Experience something new with them—something they’ve never seen. Last year, we went to Gooseberry Falls in Two Harbors, MN. It was fun exploring with the kids and taking pictures of the waterfalls.

Hope this makes you slow down a little bit and take time to stop and smell the flowers. Just remember everyday you are living you have the ability to make an impact and memories with your children. Use your time wisely.